© Ashley Thompson — TC Media
Deputy sheriffs escort alleged Ponzi scheme scammer Quintin Earl Sponagle out of the Hants County Courthouse in Windsor following a brief appearance Nov. 28.
Publication ban granted at reverse onus bail hearing
WINDSOR — A man accused of bilking more than $4 million out of investors through a company that once had an office in Windsor will remain in custody until his bail hearing resumes Friday.
After a lengthy discussion on whether or not Sponagle is ordinarily a citizen of Canada, Judge Alan Tufts ultimately agreed to grant the Crown’s request for a reverse onus bail hearing.
“It is the Crown’s position that given that Mr. Sponagle has resided outside of the country of Canada for the last eight years… that he’s not ordinarily a resident in Canada and that’s a provision that imposes reverse onus under the Criminal Code,” said provincial Crown attorney Rick Hartlen, in an interview following the adjournment of Sponagle’s bail hearing.
“We felt that it was directly on point and that’s why we urged the court to reverse the normal onus, which all that means is that the burden is on Mr. Sponagle to show that his release pending trial is justified in the circumstances.”
Hartlen is opposing Sponagle’s release on the grounds that the accused has already demonstrated his ability to flee Canada, and take up residency in a foreign country.
“We are very much opposed to Mr. Sponagle’s release in the sense that there’s not been put forward a plan for his release which satisfies our concerns,” said Hartlen, who wants “sufficient mechanisms in place to ensure that (Sponagle) will attend trial.”
Tufts imposed a publication ban prohibiting the release of any evidence heard at the bail hearing, which is scheduled to resume Dec. 19 at 11 a.m.
Sponagle was recently extradited from the Republic of Panama, where he was arrested in 2013, and brought back to Nova Scotia to face three counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of theft over $5,000.
It is alleged Sponagle, former head of the Windsor-based Jabez Financial Services Inc., fled to Central America in 2006 — the same year the Nova Scotia Securities Commission was investigating complaints from investors involved with Jabez Financial.
Sponagle, who was charged with the fraud-related offences in 2011, initially fought the extradition order that called for his return to Canada.
An RCMP investigation determined that Jabez Financial defrauded 179 investors between Dec. 1, 2005 and Sept. 30, 2006, including several members of the Rock Church in Lower Sackville.